http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Did you know that the CTA Blue Line can get travelers from O'Hare International Airport into Downtown Chicago without any aggravation or traffic delays for only $5.00? And, the return journey back to O'Hare is only $2.25? Well, now you know. CTA wouldn't allow me to video the how the actual vending machines and turnstiles work but it is not only easy, personnel are always on hand at O'Hare to assist. Just put a $5.00 USD bill into the machine (it also makes change), press the "Green Button" and out spits a one-way ticket. If planning to stay in Chicago and use Public Transit, opt for a 1-day, 3-day or 7 day card. Go to the transitchicago website for more routes, stops and information. Trains run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every 10-12 minutes. Returning to O'Hare from Downtown Chicago, the fare is only $2.25 USD...such a deal and so easy!
Views: 45572 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com The ultra-uber-unbelievable GVK Lounge in Mumbai International Airport has now become my favorite. Ample space for everyone, waiter service, large bar area, incredible assortment of food choice and free leg/back massages for passengers. Fab-u-lous...
Views: 29591 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Ten percent of the argan oil production in the world comes from countries such as Algeria, Mexico, Israel and is endemic to Morocco. If you've never heard of Argan Oil before, the oil is produced from the kernels of the Argan Tree and used for nutritive, cosmetic and medicinal properties. My own beauty salon uses a very expensive Argan Oil product called "Moroccan Oil" for hair. This Argan Oil Cooperative is run by women and the Explore group stopped for a demonstration. Even I took a seat and tried my hand at smooshing the pulp and grinding the oil.
Views: 266088 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Even if a person doesn't speak Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese (Guangzhou was once called "Canton"), China has made their state of the art train stations easy for dorks like us. Learn from our experience and study this video well since training around China will always be the same. However, I suggest paying a few Yuan more and asking your hotel, guesthouse or tour operator to buy the tickets for you to make it even more of a no-brainer. Memorize your train number, predominantly displayed on your ticket. All departure boards and tickets are in Chinese but not the numbers! And then, follow the crowds...
Views: 9455 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Karaikudi has one of the best antique streets for all things Indian and Brit Colonial. I had no idea it existed or would have spent an entire day here browsing. Ultra fab-o and unfortunately, many of the dealers ask, "No video or photos, please." You'll just have to take my word for it! Stores on both sides of the street and down little side streets.
Views: 27100 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com The big attraction in small Nirona Village is a unique and creative art form known as Rogan Art. Just one family has kept this traditional art alive for over 400 years! We had never heard or seen anything like this."Traditional Rogan Art" is not embroidery but freehand painting on silk and cotton cloth. A castor oil is boiled into a thick paste to which pigment is added to make the color palette. The colors are then stored in a small pot with water. (looked like Silly Putty floating in bowls of water). The artist then makes a thin thread of this mixture and begins drawing, freehand, on the cloth. Watch the video. I can almost guarantee that you've never seen anything like it before!
Views: 40550 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com There are no worries about skimpy portions in Germany and after the first few dinners, Marine Steve and I began splitting orders. And people say American portions are huge? You should see the size of their schnitzels... Germany and most of Europe is known for their beyond filling buffet breakfasts many times with home-made pastries that left filled us to the brim until dinner, and then add excellent Riesling Wine from the Rhine Area and more ice cream/gelato than we ever expected, both that went down so easy in Europe's Heat Wave, and say, "Schmackhaft" - delicious.
Views: 13156 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com The title would sum up Dublin Airport without me writing another word. This airy and modernistic airport has easy to read signage, a large Information Office (follow the "I" signs), and spacious halls for arriving passengers. Information instructed us to buy our 747 Airlink bus tickets to Heuston Train Station from either SPAR or the Currency Exchange. A word of warning about the Currency Exchange where we bought the bus tickets: they had the nerve to put a $10 USD service fee on our Visa in addition to the bus fee, without telling us, which we discovered when the bill came! Visa removed the charge since we never were given or signed for a receipt... Just buy the tickets on the bus! Out front to the Airlink bus which was standing there and leaves every 15 minutes, it was a one-hour ride through heavy Dublin traffic to the train station. Killarney, here we come...
Views: 14707 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com it's easy to use the RER B line to and from Charles de Gaulle Airport. Just allow yourself enough time for the return. The trains don't always run on time and may be so crowded that it is impossible to even push your way on. You pay for and catch the train in Terminal 2. Use the automatic dispensing machine or personnel in the room selling train tickets. Look for "Paris par Train" signs and follow the instructions. This video will help if you've never visited Paris and are a little nervous about using public transportation. Have a wonderful trip and Au Revoir...
Views: 156322 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Finally, a chance to talk to the friendly locals. The Rabaul market is a market like any other with a few different fruits, vegetables and items to buy. Unfortunately, Rabaul is not deemed safe to walk around after dark and our L'Austral cruise ship had established a curfew for passengers and crew. Sigh...
Views: 3713 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Steve and I have seen and visited many different minority tribes in China but the Yao women had one of the most exotic customs. They cut their hair once in their lifetime, between the ages of 18-20! The Yao women then keep this hank of hair forever, adding any hairs (I did say "hairs") that fall off their head on the floor, in a stream, bed, while combing, and NEVER cut their hair again! I first thought their glossy black hair was a turban; that's how smoothly wound around their heads it was. Definitely a first for us...
Views: 26510 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Longyearbyen has a limited choice of hotels and guesthouses which range from expensive to very expensive but what can you do? Fortunately, we only had to make hotel reservations for one night pre-cruise, one night after the cruise and opted for Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, one block from Town Square. Of course almost everything in Longyearbyen is only a few blocks away in this town, population 2,040 people. The Radisson Blu advertises itself as the Northernmost full-service hotel in the world and it was filled to the max with inbound and outbound Arctic cruisers! TIP: Sign up for hotel membership chains; you never know when they will come in handy as mentioned in the video.
Views: 22569 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWiithSheila.com Kaohsiung is the biggest harbor city in Taiwan and odds are that most travelers will drive through this city on their way south. The two tourist spots are Lotus Pond with its outlandish temples and pavilions, and Chijin Island. Chijin Island is a slender island in the harbor which serves as a natural break water. This district is filled with seafood restaurants and a famous Matsu Temple. Transportation of choice is one of the many ferries that traverse the harbor every 10 minutes and then the main street begins at the ferry. Visit both sights only if traveling this way in Taiwan. Otherwise, travelers can safely miss both though Lotus Pond was enjoyably kitschy...
Views: 5921 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com India (and Mumbai) is to be congratulated for doing it up right. What an International Terminal! Gorgeous architecture, perfect signage, many venues to eat, drink and shop... and wait until you see the GVK Business Class Lounge (still to be uploaded)...
Views: 39358 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com There are many resorts, hotels, and guest houses along the shores of Samosir Island for all price points; not that anything could be considered "expensive." Tabo Cottages has a unique restaurant and rooms (cottage style) overlooking the lake, and picturesque mountains. Very yummy food, a unique aloe vera massage, great personnel -- what more could we ask for? How about a break in the rain?
Views: 6158 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com United Airlines is our airline of choice and we stick to them like glue whether in Economy or with a Business Class upgrade, not the case today. A last minute change in plans (along with change fees :( ) got us the last two seats together on a 777-200 near the Economy toilets. Sigh... But at least there was no one sitting between us for a change and we were sitting a little behind the wing which gave clear views of wing dynamics on take off and landing. Adieu Chicago...Bonjour France.
Views: 18460 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Don't bother humming, "If I only had a brain" in South Korea. All the heavy lifting has been removed with English speaking personnel in train stations, on and off trains and signage in English and Korean wherever you go. Watch the video to see for yourself...
Views: 10112 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Linda Woods from Ireland Walk, Hike Bike with South West Walks Ireland drove us into Killarney National Park for a day's hike which began on the grounds of historic Muckross House & Gardens. This magnificent 65-room Victorian mansion was built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and wife and is Ireland's second most popular visitor attraction; number one is Trinity College in Dublin. Several owners later, a wealthy Californian bought Muckross House as a wedding gift for his daughter. When daughter Maud died in an accident, Muckross Estate was given to the state for use as Killarney National Park. We just admired from the outside and then began hiking one of the trails.
Views: 7069 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Options are easier to and from Kansai to Osaka than to and from Kansai to Kyoto. Kyoto is different. We find it easier to use Yasaka Transport and pay the extra Yen than dealing with a train to Kyoto and then taxi or subway after a 14 hour flight. English-speaking personnel at Kansai will explain all the options.
Views: 21800 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Resolute Airport has a gravel runway, is not equipped with radar but does have an ILS landing system and a modern one-room terminal. All this created aircraft weight restrictions; total weight of passengers with luggage was 22,000 pounds and equipment could only handle 17,000 pounds. Quark handled this problem but hiring a small plane to transport luggage only to Toronto (the best laid plans).. which had a mechanical. A long story.... Open seating on the First Air 737-200 charter flight created a scrum like I haven't seen since my old flying days before assigned seating. Small but mighty me managed to get three seats for the 2 of us on the almost 6 hour flight that landed in Iqaluit to refuel before proceeding to Toronto. Travel is not easy...
Views: 9894 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Sisimiut (pop: 5,600) is the second largest and northernmost tow in Greenland (40 kilometers/24 miles) above the Arctic Circle and has been inhabited for the last 4,500 years by the Inuit, Dorset and Thule people. Danish missionaries first settled in this area in the 1720s. Fishing is the principal industry and there is an airport served by Air Greenland. It is important to know that dogs in Greenland are valuable to their owners as working dogs and when chained, not to be touched.
Views: 7442 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Hope this short video gives passenger information for International Arrivals only. All International flights land at Terminal 5, O'Hare.
Views: 50584 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Airport Express (train) is the most popular transportation from Hong Kong International Airport to either Hong Kong Island or Kowloon. It is the least expensive and fastest but travelers must handle their own luggage. We had very heavy luggage. Hotel kiosks are located directly outside of arrival and they will tell about different transportation choices besides Airport Express: taxi, limousine or bus with hotel drop-off.
Views: 26054 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Jianguo Weekend Holiday Jade Market, north of Renai Road is supposed to be one of the largest markets for jade and other semiprecious stones in Asia. A parking lot under a freeway becomes a Flower and Jade Market on Saturday and Sunday. We managed to squish some time into a jam-packed schedule to take a look; not that I could ever tell a piece of plastic from real jade. It takes a REAL expert to distinguish priceless jadeite from nephrite. I also can't tell the difference between Onyx, cats eye, tigers eye and agate. Also know that unlike mainland China, the people bargain very little (if at all). I was in heaven in the Jade and Flower Markets with so many varieties of orchids! Orchids have become my new favorite house plant in Chicago. Buy one for $15, flowers last for weeks even under supreme neglect and have even rebloomed which is a major miracle under my brown thumb! Note: If you happen to speak Mandarin Chinese, you'll love the many videos taken in Taiwan since you'll understand what bystanders were saying. Probably, "Will you look at that stupid, Ugly American?"
Views: 23963 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Wonderful Explore guide Cristian (Cristi) gave such fantastic explanations throughout the tour that the You Tube prefaces are barely needed. But if you'd like to hear a few more details about Brasov: Brasov was built by the Teutonic Knights in 1211 on an ancient Dacian site and then settled by the Saxons. Set at an intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and western Europe, the Saxon merchants became extremely wealthy. Brasov had massive defense towers, walls and gates; wall dimensions of 40 feet high, 7 feet thick and two miles long can still be seen, but only a few of the original seven bastions have survived. A fascinating city that is often used for movie backgrounds.
Views: 3971 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com This beautiful ryokan is only three minutes on food from famous Toshogu Shrine. The Omani Rivers runs behind the ryokan which has 26 tatami-mat rooms with ensuite bath and toilet; Give a shout out!
Views: 4770 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Chennakeshava Temple is commonly referred to as "Belur Temple." Belur is well known for its marvelous temples built during the rule of the Hoysala dynasty, making it and nearby Halebid/Halebidu important tourist stops in Karnataka state. These temple complexes have been proposed to be listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Concentrate on the exquisitely carved Apsara, a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
Views: 27232 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Taxi costs $250 USD from Narita into Tokyo -- forget about THAT and take metro ( cheaper if near your hotel) or the easy Airport Limousine Bus.
Views: 15552 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Watch the video and let me know if you've ever seen such an incredibly, well-preserved mummy. Her knee caps looked to be in better shape than mine! Mawangdui was the family graveyard in the Western Han Dynasty and had the tombs of Li Kang (The Marquis of Dai), Li Kang's wife and their son. The amount of cultural relics found in this family tomb would rank them as biliionaires today.
Views: 172716 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com I was not thrilled to buy a one-way ticket on Aerolineas Argentinas but options were limited since this flight would land at Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires and then we would have to transfer to Ezeiza Airport to catch our United Airlines flight home. However, it was only a two-hour flight with a pleasant crew who served the exact snack boxes handed out by TAM Airlines and the middle seat between us was empty.
Views: 4214 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Outside the monastery, the winds were still howling and inside the monastery, our Monk guide spoke so quietly, I had to do a voiceover! In 311 A.D. when Christians experienced widespread persecution, Anthony traveled to Alexandria and confessed his faith. Instead of being martyred, he was free to leave and return to the desert along with thousands of followers who later visited him for wisdom and teaching. St. Anthony died at the age of 105 and was buried in an unmarked grave. I thought the most interesting part of the monastery was the elevator in the original fortress walls - built by Justinian and Julian in 361 A.D. to protect the monks from raiding Bedouins! The monks would lower this "elevator" to friendlies only...
Views: 8489 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Room prices in Cairo range from dirt cheap to super-shock and there must be hundreds to choose from. We picked the Movenpick Resort Cairo Pyramids for its location. 15 kms/9 miles to town, 2km/1.2 miles from the Giza Pyramids and 35km/21 miles from the Cairo International Airport. If this is your first trip to Cairo, a location closer to the center of town or overlooking the Nile River may be a better choice. I liked the way this particular Movenpick was laid out all on one level on the spacious grounds. Several restaurants inside the hotel with a lavish buffet breakfast. The usual amenities and the Movenpick has a viewing platform from which to sit, drink a beer and watch the sunset set (or rise) over the pyramids. Doesn't get much better than that!
Views: 12800 Sheila Simkin
http;//www.TravelsWithSheila.com There is one large check-in area followed by Security. Oslo Gardermoen Airport then diverges into Domestic and International sections. Both have many food venues, shops and whatever else may be needed by a traveller. January, 2018
Views: 5220 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Membership does have its privileges! Think Marriott Gold and try to achieve status for automatic upgrades with Executive Level access. Marriott Marquis has the most wonderful staff who goes above and beyond for guests and nothing shabby about staying in the tallest hotel in the World is there? Particularly in a destination full of superlatives....
Views: 22953 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Our flight from Taipei to Narita Airport (Tokyo) was on ANA Airlines who was using the EVA Business Class Lounge today. A big perk when 1Ks fly Economy is the ability to use whatever Star Alliance Airline Lounge you are flying on that day. Although Economy Class on ANA, it was into the very luxurious EVA Lounge. So many different foods to choose from, lots of space and the usual Asian Business Lounge perks; showers, etc., etc. Why should we be surprised at that? A perfect ending to a fabulous vacation in Taiwan. I'll repeat: Don't wait as long as we did to visit Taiwan, filled with attractions, luxury - or not, clean and delicious food.
Views: 7577 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com My primarily reason for selecting Radisson Blu Viking Hotel in Stockholm was its proximity to Central Station which is not usually the deciding factor. But the thought of schlepping suitcases through cold and snow to a less expensive or uber-desirable location didn't appeal. Another Plus? The Radisson Blu Viking Hotel had one of the best breakfast buffets I've ever enjoyed. Big minus! Not one single drawer or ledge anywhere in the room to stow clothes. We resorted to layering on the inside window ledge and throwing over chairs; not a good thing.
Views: 5738 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Travelers come from all over the world hoping to see the Northern Lights, above the Arctic Circle in the Saariselka region of Lappland. But even without the lights, there are a gazillion winter adventure activities - snowmobile, reindeer sled, ski (both downhill and x-country) - the list goes on and on... And Mutoka has excellent, excellent food!
Views: 2980 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Large Nellim Wilderness Hotel and Muotka Wilderness Lodge have the same owners. Located in the village of Nellim on Lake Inari, Finland's 2nd largest lake, there are cabins, aurora bubbles and hotel rooms available. Nellim, like Muotka, also have wonderful food.
Views: 4964 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Marine Steve and I so enjoyed Camp Ripan and glad we opted for this location rather than the center of town. Town would have been more convenient for meals since dinner at Camp Ripan is very expensive but a gigantic breakfast buffet is included in rates. However, we never slept! Because each time we dashed out to see the Northern Lights or walk to town or walk to the main building for meals in the way below zero Fahrenheit temperatures, the cold would jive us up to infinity and beyond. A really great stay in an atmosphere where snow really looks like snow! Do you want to build a snowman?
Views: 2929 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com A trull (plural, trulli) is a traditional dry stone hut with a conical roof and were generally constructed as temporary field shelters, storehouses or dwellings for workers who labored in the vineyards. Stunning Alberobello is packed with trulli and tourists and one of the most unusual destinations you'll ever see..
Views: 7336 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Passengers for all airlines must use the kiosks to check-in, then get in the very long drop baggage line. Once again, for all departing flights. It was surprising how fast the lines moved with at least 12-14 check-in staff. September, 2017
Views: 9848 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com ex-Marine and I hailed down a sangtaew one afternoon (an open sided truck with seats on both sides) and set off to see what all the ballyhoo was over Lonely Beach. When we arrived at the ferry port of Koh Chang, large numbers of "younger" people were jumping into sangtaews going that direction. If you are on an extreme budget, Lonely Beach is the place for you. Want to squeeze two people into a cottage without air conditioning? Think $8.00 U.S. per night for two persons. This is the latest in spot for backpackers and anyone else who wants to settle into an isolated and cheap "beach existence."
Views: 9606 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com The wonderful L'Austral chefs used 12,000 eggs and 480 kilos/1,058 pounds of meat, just two examples, on a 13 days cruise. Yep, I plead guilty to doing my share of the damage. This has some of the many breakfast, lunch and dinners offerings; minus desserts. Saving the desserts for another video so eat something, and then drool your way through L'Austral food. Yum.
Views: 2369 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Another very easy to navigate airport with one difference; unless you are a "premium" passenger, everyone has to check themselves in at an equally easy-to-use kiosk. Just follow the screen directions and out pops baggage tags and boarding passes. Then walk a short distance to "Baggage Drop" where many employees wait to finish the process. Do not believe claims that all airport goods are cheaper than in Reykjavik - they are not! We priced several items seen in the city and they were more expensive at the airport. Do your shopping in Reykjavik and get a tax free rebate there...
Views: 62227 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Rightfully considered one of the Best Airport Hotels in the world, the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is steps away from world-class Changi Airport Terminal 3, with Terminals 1 and 2 accessible by SkyTrain. Take the MRT into the city or settle in this perfect hotel for a quick transit stop between long-haul flights (ask about day-use rates), or a restful night. Crowne Plaza Changi has contemporary soundproofed rooms with comfortable beds, spacious modern bathrooms and superb food.
Views: 6893 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com United Airlines used to have a teeny, tiny club one level above duty-free in Terminal 1. Wow - that's changed for the good. It is still above duty-free but is now a Star Alliance Lounge and covers two floors with a good food selection. Unfortunately, the the lounge was jammed to the max the day we flew with delays thanks to another one of France's impromptu strikes - an Air Traffic Controller's Strike. Marine Steve and I have been flying through Terminal 1 for over 25 years and remember when the same space age satellite was occupied by good old TWA who had the best mileage program...boo-hoo...
Views: 5749 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com It is always a joy to fly into or through Seoul Incheon Airport and spend time in the Asiana Lounge. The lounge is wonderful but the airport deserves applause. Easy to navigate and stunning!
Views: 13077 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com The big souvenir street in Kiev "may" have been called Destatynna. The two easiest ways to find this area, depending what direction you are coming from is: either begin at St. Andrew's Church; or face the front of St. Michael's church and walk down the first street to your left for two-three blocks. Souvenir stalls spread off the main street in all directions. Matryoshka dolls, also known as Russian nesting dolls, is the number one souvenir. There are distinct differences between "Russian" and "Ukrainian" nesting dolls that you may not be aware of. Each nested Russian doll is painted exactly the same while each nested Ukranian doll is painted differently. Don't forget to bargain. Some vendors bring up the subject themselves while others are insulted when asked. Try anyway for "a small discount"...
Views: 9470 Sheila Simkin
http://www.TravelsWithSheila.com Essaouira, Morocco is picturesque, engrossing and friendly. Take a walk through the old Port du Skala to see for yourself. And even think about rising at the crack of dawn to see the fishermen return from the Atlantic with in their blue boats loaded down with fresh fish. Walk into the big square from the water and browse the stalls selling eels, crabs, spiny lobsters, calamari, scampi. You can buy by weight and cook yourself or pick a stall to grill your fish right there and then. Signs are posted to tell you what your seafood should cost, sold by the weight. It smelled so good!
Views: 21809 Sheila Simkin